Enhanced Sleep with Melatonin?
As humans reach middle age and beyond, sleep patterns can become disrupted.
Why does this occur? One reason could be the decrease of melatonin production in older individuals.
What is melatonin? It is a naturally occurring hormone produced in the pineal gland. It’s plentiful in younger years, but by age sixty-five, a much smaller fraction of this youth-boosting compound is secreted into the bloodstream. In relatively recent times, over-the-counter melatonin supplements have been available to take shortly before bedtime. Some people who suffered with assorted sleep disorders say they are now experiencing improved nighttime zzz’s.
Can melatonin supplements offer other benefits besides the hope of a healthier nocturnal sleep?
A number of researchers believe the answer is “yes.” However, it is important to mention many studies reinforcing such claims were done with animals, not humans. Even so, here are some of the believed benefits:
- Memory. Mice that were given melatonin typically exhibited better memory patterns. They also appeared to display enhanced learning capabilities. Several experts suggest that even Alzheimer’s patients might benefit from taking melatonin supplements.
- Migraine headaches. Migraines and other types of recurrent headaches negatively impact a person’s way of life. Some clinical trials have indicated that melatonin supplements can prevent headaches from occurring or lessen their severity if they do take place.
- Antioxidant properties. Melatonin is believed to possess impressive antioxidant properties. Because of this, the damaging effects of certain diseases, like Parkinson’s disease and cancer, may be minimized.
- Anti-aging. Several studies suggest that melatonin supplementation can counteract oxidative harm, reduce free radicals, and slow the aging process.
- Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and/or mood fluctuations. Properly timed melatonin supplements are thought to interrupt disruptions in bodily patterns and potentially help conditions like SAD and bipolar. Still, further research is necessary.
Are melatonin supplements alleged to help other ills? In certain cases, jet lag, infertility, obesity, and gallstones may be frustrated. Still, keep in mind that additional studies are needed to substantiate these claims. At the same time, doctor approval is always recommended before taking any kind of supplement: interactions with prescription medication and/or negative side effects can occur (although melatonin, by in large, appears to produce few undesirable effects).
Better sleep with melatonin? It might be what the doctor orders.